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White Huns

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The "White Huns", also known as the White Hunas, in Iranian as the Spet Xyon, and in Sanskrit as the Sveta-huna, were a subgroup of the Huna and/or Xionites. The White Huns are sometimes regarded as synonymous with the Hephthalites but may have included other tribes as well. They are known for their historical conquest and occupation of North India, particularly the Punjab region.[1][2]



The "White Huns", or Hephthalites, were reported by Byzantine, Indian, Chinese, Arab-Persian, Armenian, and other written sources. Despite the abundance of information, a number of questions on the history of the states they formed are considered by scientists from different and often opposite points of view. Well-informed authors of Chinese chronicles call the regions of East Turkestan (Turfan) the homeland of the Hephthalites. According to this information, the Hephthalites were driven out of there as a result of clashes with the neighboring tribes of the Rouran. Hephthalites were divided into two groups: white huns and red huns. The latter owe their name to red headdresses, red armor, and a red banner. It is still unclear whether these groups were different tribes that were part of a confederation, or whether they were ethnic varieties that were part of a single tribal union. The Hephthalites were an Iranian-speaking people. Their language belonged to the East Iranian group but was somewhat different from that of other Iranian-speaking peoples. In the Tocharistan possessions, the official state language of the Hephthalites was Bactrian. Bactrian titles are read in the legends of the Hephthalite coins. Hephthalite writing developed on the basis of the Kushan, though few examples have survived. These include an inscription on a shard from Zangtepe, graffiti from Karzdepe, and inscriptions from Afrasiab.[3]

Latin and Syrian sources called the Chionites, Kidarites (Kushans), and Hephthalites as White Huns. They also included the Cadusii living in Nusaybin. Considering the identity of the Caspians with the Cadusii, the Nusaybin Cadusii, as well as the Chionites and Hephthalites, can be considered the successors of the Hyrcanian Cadusii or Caspians, corresponding to Alans and Sarir or Alans and Rus in Munajim-bashy. Thus, the "Caucasian Huns", who are not confused with the Huns and are identified with "Maskut", or "Massa-Huns", can be correlated with the Hyrcanians, who were related to the military–trade colonies in the Caucasus.[4]

The Hephthalite tribes are noted in Central Asia, mainly in the Trans-Caspian and in the upper reaches of the Amu Darya, by Arab and Persian-speaking authors under the name Haital (Tabari, Masudi, Ferdowsi, etc.) Armenian historians repeatedly mentioned Hephtalites, transcribing their name as Idalyan, Idal, or Haital. Ghazar Parpetsi (end of the 5th century) uses the term Heptal for their designation; Michael of Syria (IX century) uses Tedal and Tedaltzi. Markwart also noted the Armenian term katisk – Cadusii, as one of the names of the Hephthalites.[5]

It is necessary to point out that Markwart also associates with the White Huns the many times-remembered CadiseniKatisk of Armenian sources. These Cadusii, or Cadiseni, occupied the Persian province of Herat. Initially, Markwart doubted whether to consider them Chionites or Hephthalites, but in his work, he classified them as the latter. The Syrian writer Isaac of Antioch, writing about 400 AD, mentioned that the qudishaye[clarification needed] is near Nusaybin. Nöldeke considered them to be relatives of the Kurds, with whom, in his opinion, they had many similarities. In the surviving fragments of John of Antioch, there is an indication that the Cadusii were counted among the Huns.[6]

See also



  1. ^ Dignas, Assistant Professor of History Beate; Dignas, Beate; Winter, Engelbert (13 September 2007). Rome and Persia in Late Antiquity: Neighbours and Rivals. Cambridge University Press. p. 97. ISBN 978-0-521-84925-8.
  2. ^ Goldsworthy, Adrian; Ltd, Dr Adrian Goldsworthy (2 April 2009). The Fall of the West: The Death of the Roman Superpower. Orion. ISBN 978-0-297-85760-0.
  3. ^ Брыкина, Г. А. (1999). Средняя Азия и Дальний Восток в эпоху средневековья: Средняя Азия в раннем средневековье (in Russian). Наука. p. 12. ISBN 978-5-02-008617-3.
  4. ^ Kljaštornyj, Sergej G.; Mustafaev, Shaid Medzhid ogly (2009). "Дорога Страбона" как часть Великого Шелкового пути: материалы Международной конференции, Баку, 28-29 ноября 2008 г. (in Russian). Mezhdunarodnyĭ institut t︠s︡entralʹnoaziatskikh issledovaniĭ. p. 131. ISBN 978-9943-357-04-4.
  5. ^ Bernshtam, Aleksandr Natanovich (1951). Очерк истории гуннов (in Russian). Изд-во Ленинградского гос. университета. p. 184.
  6. ^ Пигулевская, Нина Викторовна (1941). Сирийские источники по истории народов СССР (in Russian). Изд-во Академии наук СССР. p. 48.